I've heard both, that I should have gone with B on his mule ramble West (click here MulesWest) or, that B should have stayed with Snookie and me on the farm. True we did just get married. We got married because we want to be together long term. B and I understand that we each have our own missions and responsibilities that must be tended to and that these may unfortunately not always allow us to be together in the same place. The following essay explains our current choices, his to go rambling westward with his mules Brick and Cracker and mine to stay behind with Snookie for this trip.
B draws a pie chart and sees that he's already used up half his time on Earth. He sees what's left and understands that the years of good health in which to really pursue living are less guaranteed with every passing year. If you are B “really pursuing living” means to challenge yourself both physically and mentally, to push hard and to take in the experience with an open and fresh mind. He takes trips like sailing alone around the world or riding a mule across America on roads no longer designed or expecting such a slow moving form of transportation.
They are big undertakings that take a lot of time, courage, discipline and commitment to pull off. The kind of thing a few people do when they have been diagnosed with some terminal illness and become aware of the shortness of their time left. Then they throw caution to the wind, shirk assumed responsibilities and roles, and head off to pursue that one wild dream of a lifetime.
Fortunately, B doesn't have death yapping at his heels from a terrible diagnosis, he just is keenly aware of time's true worth. He really loves his life and plans to use up every bit of it to the fullest he can through first hand experiences. He wants to ride his quarter till its last penny has ticked through the timer and the 25cent operated horse has rocked forward for the last time and come to a complete halt. Ride over! Then and only then will B be ready to rest. He is a true adventurer.
To love a man like B is to understand his need to go. If I could stop time perhaps he could wait for me to be able to come along but no one can stop time. To make B waste any of his life's quarter would be wrong, unthinkably so.
This love that B has for adventure is no less important than the love I have for my old dog Snookie, which prevents me from going along this time on the mule ramble West. Snookie is now approaching 11 years old. He's starting to have trouble jumping into the car. His hind end is getting noticeably weaker. He trips and stumbles more often. He's a lot wobblier then he was as a pup but he still enjoys ball games and walks.
Sitting here looking at Snookie, I am aware that my time with him is dwindling. The vet mentioned degenerative myelopathy of the spinal cord as a potential diagnosis of his weak hind end and stumbling. If this is the case, he might have a year left before he will be paralyzed in the hind end. Even if he doesn't have this degenerative disease, he's an old dog and his remaining miles are limited. I think of the years we've had together. He has been and still is a wonderful companion.
Time, again in this decision, is the limiting resource. Given this situation, I have to give my time to Snookie. I want to be with him for the good time he's got left.
I'm sad, that I can't be with B on the mule trip West, that I too can't be off on a long ride now while my health is great, that this time can't be shared by the three of us in the same place, that the better part of our year will be apart. But, I am comforted in knowing that we both have thought carefully about the worth of time and that we are not wasting it. There will be no regrets later on for B not having headed West with two mules while still healthy and able and no regrets for me not spending time with Snookie while I still can. B and I understand each others decision and we both understand the worth of time. It's sobering to really think about the preciousness of this commodity. Use it wisely.
There have been some interesting comments regarding this post which was cross posted on my Saddle Under The Stars Blog as well as on Bernie's Riverearth.com website. I am reposting them here.
From The Rev Johannes Myors:
Bernie is probably not going to want to associate with me anymore but after reading your take on why Bernie set out on his current mule ride I can't see any reason for it. Doing something just to have something to do because he thinks he doesn't have much time on this earth seems kind of pointless and selfish. If he was raising money for a cause or raising awareness for a concern that is causing harm either to individuals, animals, or the earth, I could see some justification for it. His riding is just like the running that Forrest Gump did. No meaning. No purpose other than probably self-promoting his books and tv series. As I am doing my bicycle touring (over 270,000 miles so far), I have a cause and a purpose and that is to be the hands and feet of Christ and show people by example how we should be caring for each other. Another thing, going off right after getting married to you isn't showing real commitment. I am sharing that one as a minister.
Thanks for writing.
I find your comment limiting and sad. Bernie as you well now is a very kind and thoughtful man. He has always an ear to listen to people in need and make them feel better, including you as I know first hand.
Your mission maybe a worthy one but so is his. He's got his own calling and reasons for traveling and perhaps it's not the Lord. He is an inspiration to many, many people and teaches through example and writing how to really cherish life. Bernie may promote his work sometimes but that is only because he wants to share his experiences with others. It's not to make money.
He teaches a love and joy in living which brings smiles to all kinds of people, young, old, poor, troubled, happy, sad. He stops and visits with people, hears their troubles and their stories and lets them pat his mules. Many people are made more whole by getting to touch and pat an animal. You would not believe the joy he has already brought to so many out on this current ramble.
Bernie picks people up from their daily grind and lets them see that there is all kinds of possibility in a day.
Your comment is so narrow minded. It does not even understand the worth of a smile, the touch of fur, the knowledge of courage or the value of kindness. Of all the people who should understand the importance of acceptance and open mindedness, I am shocked that you can't see beyond a very narrow spectrum of conventionality.
From The Rev Johannes Myors in response to Bernie's riverearth post riverearth.com/news/where-is-home :
You put out the question where is your home. Your home is with your wife physically now beside her. I could have responded to your email privately but since you set this blog up with a comment section it had become a public forum. How to respond back pretty well kept me from sleeping last night. If what I am going to write here destroys our friendship, so be it. I’ve made my decision and I am going to live by it. There are no way that I will ever take these words back. As a ordained minister for nearly 21 years, I have the moral and spiritual obligation to use anything as a teaching tool to help (guide) you and others who might read this at a later time.
When you took those wedding vows, you made a commitment to each other (a binding contract both morally and spiritually) as other people watched and GOD as witness that you became one flesh to be separated by nothing (no person or thought or desire) until death. Your personal wants and desires should have become second place under the Love and Compassion that you should have for Julia. Julia should have become your first priority. Your gallivanting days of riding off into the sunset on your mule(s) by yourself should have been over. Period. No question about that. No way to get around it.
The very second that your lead mule took it’s first step off of your property you broke that commitment (contract) to be beside Julia until death. In fact the very second that the thought came into your mind that you needed to go out on the another adventure (possibly by yourself), you broke that contract. All you did was go through the motions (just empty words with no meaning or conviction behind them) because you were slightly convicted that you had to make your living together legal in the eyes of the law instead of just shacking up together. There possibly was never any true love between the two of you.
Talking on the cellphone is somewhat okay but what would ever happen if there was a serious emergency? How fast could you get back home if Julia got seriously injured or had a medical emergency that could possibly kill her? How fast could you get back home if there was something wrong on your homestead like a fire?
In GOD’s eyes, you are no better than somebody who is having a sexual relationship with another woman while being married. You are a virtual adulterer. You have become married to adventure and your traveling around. You could even say that you are having an adulterous affair with your mules.
Julia should be at your side wherever you go. The marriage vows she took are the same as yours. Let nothing come between the two of you until death. The second that Julia made the decision to stay home and take care of her dog, she broke her vows. She put her dog over you. She might as well be considered as being an adulterer too.
After reading Julia’s blog, there is an unwavering fact that her dog is extremely old and seriously ill. Any vet would tell you that after examining it, the decision should have been made to painlessly put the dog to sleep. Why should anybody allow any creature to suffer from pain and living with it’s body destroying itself? That is animal cruelty. Julia should be considering the quality of the dog’s life instead of the quantity of time that she would have it be with her.
— Rev Johannes Myors · Friday May 3, 2019 · #
What an uncompassionate and strange minister the Rev Johannes Myors is. I am glad he is not my minister.
Bernie and I do truly love one another and nothing has or will come between us. If you love someone you support them in their endeavors and dreams.
To put down a currently healthy and happy dog that I adore is insanity. Snookie is healthy right now and in no pain. My vet and I will have his back and when he needs to be put out of his suffering he will be. Currently and happily, that time is not too near.
This Rev would be better off turning his critical, unloving eyes inward for he knows not compassion nor true love.